April 13, 2023

Introducing a New Approach to Continuing Professional Development for Alberta Lawyers

The Law Society of Alberta (Law Society) has been working over the past two years on a new approach to Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The new CPD program provides clear guidance on what the Law Society believes are important areas of focus for the professional development of Alberta lawyers.

During the development work to enhance the CPD program, the annual filing requirement was suspended until this year. The requirement to submit a CPD plan has returned and the CPD planning period, including access to the new CPD Tool, will open on July 4, 2023.

All active lawyers are required to submit a CPD plan by Oct. 1 of each year. Failure by an active lawyer to submit a CPD plan by the deadline will result in an administrative suspension, as set out in Rule 67.3 of the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta.

As lawyers turn their minds to annual CPD planning, we want to assure the profession that this new approach to CPD is largely the same as the previous program, but the elements of the program that have traditionally worked well have been further enhanced. This includes focusing on self-reflection, self-assessment and learning outcomes. We are not adding a minimum hours requirement.

More detailed information about the new process, resources and tools will be provided as the program is formally rolled out in July.

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Reminder to Review the Professional Development Profile for Alberta Lawyers

The new Professional Development Profile for Alberta Lawyers (the Profile) was released in June 2022 as the first step in the redevelopment of the CPD program as it sets out the competencies the Law Society believes are important to maintain a safe, effective and sustainable legal practice in Alberta today.

Professional Development Profiles are used by organizations to understand the skills and abilities that individuals should have to do their role effectively. Individuals may either already possess some of the competencies or can develop them with training and learning over time.

As always, lawyers are encouraged to pursue CPD specific to their practice areas in addition to the areas in the new Profile.

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New CPD Planning Tool to Go Live July 2023

The Law Society has developed a new CPD Tool that will be launching on July 4, 2023, to support lawyers in the development of their annual CPD plans. The new tool will provide more opportunities for lawyers to reflect on their professional development goals, self-assess their current levels of proficiency and prioritize competencies to focus on each year. The new Tool also provides more opportunities for lawyers to engage with their plans throughout the year.

The Tool uses the Professional Development Profile to provide more guidance on competencies lawyers might want to develop or enhance as part of their CPD plans.

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Reflective Practice Course Now Available

The Law Society’s approach to Continuing Professional Development (CPD), including the new CPD Tool and the Professional Development Profile, is informed by a combination of reflection and self-assessment called reflective practice.

Reflective practice is an essential part of continuous improvement, continuing competence and lifelong learning but it is also a meta-competency that can help lawyers to improve in any other competency they choose to develop. 

To assist lawyers in developing their reflective practice skills, the Law Society created a short course in the Learning Centre that provides essential background on reflective practice, concrete examples of how reflective practice works both in the CPD Tool and in a real practice environment, and the benefits of reflective practice for you and your legal practice.

While this course is not mandatory, it can help you maximize the value from your own CPD work. 

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Resource Centre Now Aligned with Updated CPD Program

The Law Society is releasing guidance and resources to support lawyers in creating meaningful and effective CPD plans.

To help lawyers easily locate resources relevant to them, the Law Society has aligned the key resources on our website to the nine domains of the Professional Development Profile.

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